A couple of my recent smaller projects have called for paint specs, window treatments, and accessorizing. And when it comes to accessorizing, "natural" seems to be the recurring theme.
Artwork has typically revolved around organic themes such as water, sand and seashells, leaves and botanicals, or beautiful landscapes. Accessories have featured natural grasses, curly willow and reeds placed in ceramic urns or planters. Many clients are requesting real, living plants rather than silk plants lately, even if they require more care. They feel that real plants add life to their homes, and I agree.
Even fabrics and rugs on many projects have featured earth tones or organic tones that relate to nature. Perhaps the whole "green" movement has resulted in a conscious or subconscious embrace of earth tones. A few clients have been attracted to "Costa Esmeralda" granite lately because of its ocean- or beach-like connotations. I've based a couple of master bathroom designs and specs around "Costa Esmerelda" with soft, calming paint colors, brushed finishes on faucets and accessories, and biscuit colored sinks and toilets.
I've also been specifying quite a bit of natural slate for flooring in kitchens and baths. In the words of one client, "It's as real as it gets, and it feels good to use something real." Slate provides a low key, beautifully textured flooring surface with many different color options running from grey to green to purple to bronze. The results can range from rustic to very sophisticated, depending upon the overall setting and other design elements such as cabinetry, millwork, and interior colors.
This caught my eye in the New York Times the other day: an article
about organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs).
The possibilities for the architecture and design world seem nearly infinite. As the article states, due to their diffuse qualities, OLEDs will not replace incandescent, fluorescent or LED lighting, but will supplement these and other types of lighting and will create eye catching and innovative applications for walls, columns, ceilings, windows, and accent lighting.
I looked up definitions online and found some good info here:
With a thickness of only 0.07 inches, and because OLEDs give off negligible heat when lit, designers and architects won't need to reserve ceiling or undercounter space for lighting fixtures when using OLEDs (just as flat-panel TVs have allowed for a variety of television installation applications). And with its very low power consumption and a 20-year life expectancy for an OLED, the opportunity for energy savings are enormous.
The flexibility of this type of lighting technology will enable incredibly exciting applications for interior design and architecture, especially as it's further developed and as costs inevitably come down. Can't wait to see some of the future results!